Baby Birthmarks & Rashes(Part2)
By: Nick Nguyen, MD, FAAP & Sheilagh M. Maguiness, MD, FAAD, FAAP
Port Wine Stains
Port wine stains are fairly common, seen in about 3 in 1,000 children. They are similar to nevus simplex: flat, pink or red birthmarks made up of extra capillaries. They also are visible at birth. But these birthmarks are usually larger than nevus simplex and may affect more areas of the face and body. Unlike some other birthmarks, port wine stains do not go away. They grow as your child grows, but slowly. Over time, they may become darker and thicker.
Port wine stains aren’t usually linked to any health problems. If the birthmark affects a certain part of the face, like the eyelid and forehead, though, it may be related to a condition called Sturge-Weber syndrome. This condition is rare, but your doctor may recommend more evaluation or testing if your baby is at risk.
Some children and teens are not bothered by their port-wine stain, while others may feel self-conscious about them. Laser treatment may be able to lighten the birthmark some and help prevent darkening and thickening. But it will not “erase” the birthmark in most cases.
These benign growths, which usually appear in the first few weeks of life, are made of extra blood vessels in the skin. Infantile hemangiomas are fairly common–found in up to 5% of infants. They usually grow rapidly, and then gradually shrink and fade. If they form near the top of the skin, they are red (and sometimes called “strawberry marks”). Deeper in the skin, they may look blue or purple, like bruises.
Infantile hemangiomas grow most quickly in the first 5-7 weeks of life, so it is important to talk to your pediatrician about them early. Some hemangiomas may be associated with certain health problems and require additional testing and/or treatment. Safe treatments are available today for problem hemangiomas. But these treatments usually work best when started shortly after these birthmarks form–generally by around 1 month age. Talk with your pediatrician if you think your baby may have an infantile hemangioma.
Congenital hemangiomas are present at birth. Sometimes, they can be seen during prenatal ultrasound exams. They are different from infantile hemangiomas and much rarer. This type of hemangioma does not grow after the baby is born. Congenital hemangioma often look like a large round or oval bump or mass. They tend to be purple to blue, but may also have tiny red blood vessels on the surface and a white ring around the base.
Some of these birthmarks begin to disappear quickly (a type called rapidly involuting congenital hemangioma). Another type, non-involuting congenital hemangioma, does not go away at all. In most cases, congenital hemangiomas are not dangerous and do not need treatment. If the birthmark does not go away, it can be removed with surgery or other treatments when a child is older.
Last Updated 3/11/2019
Source American Academy of Pediatrics Section on Dermatology and Society for Pediatric Dermatology (Copyright © 2018)
The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.